Abdulhameed Afolabi Sulu Gambari was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1992. He had worked in different law firms in the country including A.O Muhammed & Co in Ilorin before establishing Bawa-Allah Chambers (2004) in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, the jurist speaks on his unforgettable day in court.
Though the event is long ago, but I can’t forget it ever. It’s still my most dramatic day in the profession. It was on a case I appeared for in 1998 before Justice Egbue-gbo at the Federal High Court, Lagos. The matter was between the state versus Central Bank of Nigeria and I was standing for the latter. Why was it unforgettable? The judge got furious over the way I replied his question. I never meant to step on his toes; I was just been natural and sincere with my address. In the course of announcing my appearance, and in response to his question on where I’ve met him, I said ‘my lord sir, I got to know about your coming to Britain when I was in Canada, but when I returned to Britain, Sulu Gambari informed me you’ve travelled again, that was why we could not meet. Immediately I ended my address, the next question he asked me was ‘why are you so proud? And that was how misunderstanding started between us. He claimed that I was arrogant for saying that I was in Canada, when he visited Britain and I told him that ‘your lordship started this problem, because to me I’d not say a thing that portray me as an arrogant fellow.
The annoyance grew so strong in him that he refused hearing the case for that day, in fact, he left the court in anger, he then asked us to pick another date for hearing. But, interestingly, we have five Senior Advocates of Nigeria, (SAN) in the court who all supported me and also encouraged me not to go to his office to beg him.
I realised that day that if you have a volatile person on the bench, if you don’t have him as a friend, there will be problem but if you have a bench man as your friend, things will be made easier for you. That is one of the issues I can never forget in my life.